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Memory service to host creative exhibition

Posted: 10/01/20

The Memory Assessment and Management Service (MAMS) has joined forces with creative charity Equal Arts to host an exhibition celebrating the work of a patient group.

The Getting Creative Group began in April last year with three different cohorts throughout 2019, enabling patients, families and carers to take part in different artistic activities including printmaking, ceramics, glasswork and creative writing.

With the help of professional artists, patients were able to communicate their thoughts and feelings through a range of visual arts and creative writing.

The exhibition, which takes place on Tuesday 21 January 12-2pm at the Memory and Assessment Service at the Centre for the Health of the Elderly, will be a culmination of the work created throughout last year’s inclusive workshops.

Part of a project funded by the Health Foundation’s Innovating for Improvement programme, the sessions were ran by staff from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) and Equal Arts. Equal Arts works to improve the lives of older people and those living with dementia through creativity.

Dr Charlotte Allan, Consultant Psychiatrist at CNTW, said: “The project has been a great success, supporting patients and carers to express themselves in a creative way. Feedback from the sessions has been really positive in both supporting the wellbeing of patients and carers and providing staff with new ways of engaging with patients.

“The exhibition is our way of saying thank you to everyone who has been involved in the project and to celebrate the hard work of our patients who have created some really impressive pieces.”

The innovative project has used a variety of creative and artistic approaches to help communicate thoughts and feelings with patients, their carers and staff.

The workshops have been devised alongside the growing understanding that creativity remains intact long after other cognitive functions decline for people living with dementia. Training for staff has used the Imagination Model, which combines an understanding of their own creativity with how important it can be for people with dementia.

Kate Parkin, Creative Age Programme Manager with Equal Arts, said: “Taking part in the training can support staff to seek new ways to communicate and engage with patients, adding value to their professional lives, and helping them serve their patients better.

“We’ve seen how creativity can be a great way to support communication and it’s been fantastic to work with the groups, seeing their confidence grow.

“The project explores people’s interests and focuses on being ‘in the moment’. There’s not a wrong way to be creative, instead people’s achievements and artistic abilities are celebrated.”

MAMS is part of CNTW, a provider of mental health and learning disability services. It is for people of any age who live in Newcastle and parts of North Tyneside who have been referred due to concerns about their memory and have a suspected dementia.

Its work includes assessing and diagnosing memory difficulties, offering support and advice for patients and their families, and providing a range of treatments and interventions.

The exhibition will take place on Tuesday 21 January 12-2pm at the Memory and Assessment Management Service, Centre for the Health of the Elderly. If you are interested in attending the exhibition, please RSVP to mams@cntw.nhs.uk or 0191 246 8753 by Friday 10 January.